Just 15% of adults see academic qualifications as key to success

Proportion of people with faith in the ability of academic qualifications to open doors halves in five years

Helen Ward

Pupils, school, Why don't pupils like school?, Research, Edu-research

The proportion of adults who believe that good academic qualifications are the key to success has halved in the past five years, new research reveals.

Just 15 per cent of adults said good academic results provided the most opportunities in life in 2017, compared with 30 per cent in 2012, according to a survey commissioned by the Department for Education as part of NatCen’s British Social Attitude survey.

Half of respondents felt having good practical skills and training provided more opportunities in life and 34 per cent said it was important to have a mixture.

The survey, of more than 5,400 adults carried out in 2017, found that those people with lower qualifications were more likely to value practical skills over academic results

The news comes after former No 10 adviser Rachel Wolf, who has been a proponent of the knowledge-based curriculum, wrote in Tes about her surprise at the results of a parents survey carried out by the trade association techUK, which revealed parents wanted more emphasis on “soft skills” in schools.

The survey also found:

• 67 per cent of people felt GCSEs prepared young people well for further study – but while 77 per cent of 65 to 74-year-olds thought GCSEs were good preparation for further study, just 49 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 agreed.

• About one in ten (11 per cent) felt the opportunities to go to higher education should be reduced, while 43 per cent felt they should be increased.

• More than two in five (42 per cent) people felt that it was legitimate for an 8-year-old to miss school to go on holiday, although this percentage dropped to 25 per cent if the child concerned was 15-years-old.

• The proportion of people who think university education is not affordable for all young people has risen to 56 per cent, from 35 per cent in 2014.



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Helen Ward

Helen Ward

Helen Ward is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @teshelen

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